By J. Elise Van PoolMay 7, 2010
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 7, 2010) -- Louisiana National Guard Soldiers built a 300-foot floating pier to help block an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico from reaching the Louisiana coastline.
Soldiers of the Multi-Role Bridge Company, 205th Engineer Battalion, launched bridge erection boats and float ribbon bridge sets Thursday at Campo's Marina in St. Bernard, La. The new facilities will allow commercial vessels to quickly load protective booms to place along the coastline.
Lt. Col. Danny Bordelon, engineering task force commander, explained that the floating dock is necessary because the area of operations is very tight and shallow. Due to the shallow water, commercial vessels are not able to access the commercial pier. The 300 feet of floating dock will allow four commercial vessels to load booms at the same time.
"The Soldiers are doing an excellent job and are very motivated to help out," said Bordelon.
Local St. Barnard Parish officials requested assistance from the National Guard to construct the 300-foot floating pier to aid in the distribution of booms and supplies.
The Soldiers are also assisting in the loading of booms onto ships, providing logistical and command and control support, providing security, transporting booms from Mobile, Ala., and providing aerial reconnaissance for government officials, Bordelon said.
"We are here as long as we need to be," he said.
An April 20 explosion on a deep-water oil rig, 40 miles from the coast, caused millions of gallons of oil to leak from the ocean floor. It is hoped that the booms will prevent oil from washing ashore and destroying the delicate marshland ecosystem of the Louisiana coast.